Though football, softball and volleyball tend to dominate the fall sports calendar in Oklahoma, the most traditional of American games will return this October at Citizen Potawatomi Nation. The tribe will host an open exhibition of lacrosse for all interested youth and parents in the Pottawatomie County area.

The tribe, partnering with StickStar Lacrosse of Texas and Oklahoma, will host a free two hour instructional clinic followed by a two game exhibition on Sun., October 14 at the FireLake Ballfields complex.

“We’re looking for boys and girls of all ages who are interested in playing America’s original sport,” said Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Brad Peltier, who is helping organize the exhibition. “You don’t have to be a tribal member to participate.  We just want to get youth and parents out here to see and experience the excitement of lacrosse in person.”

Peltier has coached his sons’ lacrosse teams in Oklahoma City over the past few years. When Tribal Chairman John Barrett broached the topic of restarting a lacrosse team, which CPN sponsored in the past, Peltier took the lead in re-starting the program. Some of the players from the Tribal team went on to college lacrosse careers. Shawnee’s Creed Humphrey, now a standout for the University of Oklahoma football team, once played for the Citizen Potawatomi Nation program.

“There are a lot of amazing athletes out there whose skill sets don’t match up with more popular games like baseball, football and basketball, but lacrosse might be a good fit,” said Peltier. “CPN has fielded competitive teams before and with the support of our local communities in Pottawatomie County, we want to develop teams again for those kids.”

StickStar Lacrosse founder Anthony Crimmins knows well the opportunities the sport can bring. He founded the club during college and built it up over the course of the last 15 years. Based out of Texas, he sees football as a complimentary sport to lacrosse for young players.

“Many great football players have played lacrosse and vice versa,” said Crimmins. “One of the greatest, Jim Brown, did both. In Texas, some of the best high school football players have let their coaches know, they are playing lacrosse.” 

The exhibition will take place at the FireLake Lacrosse Field, located at the FireLake Ballfields complex at 18160 Rangeline Road, Shawnee, Oklahoma 74801. If it’s not raining or just sprinkling ,the event will be held at FireLake Ball Fields on Field 5.  If heavy rain or lightning/thunder then we will move up to the FireLodge Tribal Youth gymnasium located at 2365 S. Gordon Cooper Dr., Shawnee, OK 74801.

Starting at noon, StickStar coaches will give interested students from grades K-12 demonstrations and instructions on how to play. Sticks and equipment will be provided for those new to the game, and both boys and girls are encouraged to play. At 2 p.m., two exhibition games between teams from Oklahoma and Texas will take place.

“This is the original game of North America, played by tribes as far north as Canada,” explained Peltier. “The Potawatomi have their own version, called pegnegewen, so for CPN it’s a traditional and sporting event. We want to share that and develop youth and high school teams here in Pottawatomie County that will eventually compete with teams from Oklahoma City and Tulsa.”

StickStar’s Crimmens said that as the sport grows in Oklahoma, players here will only further develop the skills necessary to play at the next level, whether in competitive club teams or in college.

“The sport of lacrosse is growing.  If you are athletic, skilled, and a quality student you can find opportunities to play at the next level … StickStar has had a ton of success training players from non-traditional areas and that will continue in Oklahoma. We are excited to continue their growth and believe in their potential. It is all a function of consistent training.”

Potential players and parents of those who might be interested are encouraged to attend the October 14 event to ask questions and learn about lacrosse. Participants do not need to be members of a federally recognized tribe to play. For more information, call 405-275-3121.